Amateur diary: My first Futures Tour event
Sept. 14, 2010
The last couple of weeks have flown. Literally. The last time I wrote I was destined for caddie greatness out on the Futures Tour, and I like to think I found it. I mean, I only dropped the headcover three times, forgot the flag and ate my players food. I think you understand what I’m trying to say, yes? At least I looked good. Wel, l I kind of did before I had to put on the hideous oversized green caddie bib. Don’t they know that pine leaf isn’t my color?
The week started off when I landed in Harrisburg, Pa., to lay eyes on my first Futures Tour event. At first, I felt a little awkward in my denim skirt and flip flops searching for familiar names on the tee sheet, but after seeing more than a few friends’ friendly faces I felt a little more at home. The best feature of the Futures Tour for me is the personal side of it. Everyone knows everyone. The players really seem to want to help out their friends when they ask for it. The format and intensity also allows for many of the girls to stay with host families, meaning that the players often have a small cheer squads even when they’re far away from home.
Alison Whitaker, 24, will file a weekly diary on Golfweek.com to give you an insider’s view of life during her transition from college to professional golf.
After a day in Harrisburg, Katie Kempter, Dawn Shockley and I headed north, or is it east? Anyway we got in the car and drove to Washington D.C. for a Baltimore Orioles game. The last time I set foot in that stadium was for the banquet at the 2009 NCAA Women’s Championship. I found it rather delightful to see the stadium roar in full force from a patron’s point of view. Katie is an avid baseball fan and was in seventh heaven watching the game from our seats in the nosebleed section. I was in eighth heaven sampling all the ballpark food!
After the game we got back on the road to finish the last portion of our trek to D.C. When we arrived (after more than a few run-ins with some one-way roads). we called up our friend and old Denver roomie Kerry Porter and unloaded ourselves into her apartment for the evening.
In true “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives style,” the three of us asked Kerry to take us to the most iconic D.C. food joint she could find. She didn’t disappoint! Ben’s Chilibowl was born in 1958, by –as the name suggests – Ben and Virginia Ali. Ben’s Chilibowl has outlived the ups and downs of poverty, riots and depression to remain a true, blue D.C. culinary staple. The walls are covered with photos of famous actors, singers and politicians who, like me, probably walked away with a few chili stains on their shirts and smiles on their faces. Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Bill Cosby, Martin Luther King Jr. and President Barack Obama are among the better know names that have frequented the Chilibowl. It was hard to resist the sense of nostalgia that Ben’s instills in its customers. After getting my mouth around a traditional “half smoke,” I understood why the establishment had become part of the D.C. culture. It was messy, perfectly unhealthy and mouth wateringly delicious.
The next day we did the touristy thing and saw all the sights D.C. had to offer. We stood in front of the White House and watched the New Orleans Saints get shown around the grounds. Watching them brought back memories from my last trip to the White House when our Duke team met (NAME-DROP WARNING) President Bush.
We drove out the next morning feeling revived and had our eyes set on Richmond, Va. Like I said in my last blog I shacked up with Katie, Dawn and LPGA player Libby Smith, who opted to play the Futures event instead of heading overseas for the Evian Masters that week.
The best thing about renting a house for the week instead of staying in a hotel is that you get to cook your own meals. In light of this, we decided early in the week that we would throw a little soiree for some of the players in celebration of us being together. The pressure was on cooking for 12 people but I figured I would take my grandfather’s advice when cooking for large numbers and cook a green chicken curry. After five long weeks on the road, I think it was nice for everyone to just take a breath, sit down and have a makeshift family dinner. Janice brought her “geeetar” so we had a bit of a jam-session/sing-a-long. Don’t worry: A Duramed Futures Tour band is nowhere near on the horizon.
After 54 holes, five episodes of LA Ink (no mum, I’m not getting any ideas), four gourmet meals and a couple of ab-achingly funny Libby Smith stories, I headed back to Denver for a few weeks off feeling just that little bit more adamant that pro golf is the place for me.